Dr. Robert Leroy Ayres of Frederick, Md., died Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at Frederick Memorial Hospital. He was the husband of Marilyn Ayres.
Bom July 4, 1941 in Comstock, Bob was the son of the late Leroy and Nellie Ayres. He graduated high school from Albany Union High in Albany, Ore. He worked several years as a butcher’s assistant, grocery clerk, and heavy equipment operator to earn the money for college.
He received a bachelor of science in chemistry from Kearney State and a doctorate in radio chemistry from the University of Nebraska. He went to the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Teohnology) in Gaithersburg in 1973. Over the next two decades he became the nation’s chief scientific expert in the measurement of radioactivity for nuclear medicine applications.
Together with a colleague, Bob developed the national standard for technetium-99m (the mainstay of radioisotopes for nucleer medicine, used for miliions of diagnostic health care procedures) and tansferred this standard to the US pharmaceutical industry. He then turned to developing the international standards for radionuclide calibrators used for accurate measurements of nuclear medicine doses in thousands of clinics in the US. He published more than 30 papers and, with two colleagues, the definitive textbook Radioactivity and Its Measurement. In the mid-1980s he concentrated on development of automated nuclear instrumentation and a computer control system for a Racetack Microiron accelerator, an accelerator-based free electron laser. He then worked as a program manager at the NRC (Nuclcar Regulatory Commission), where he developed policies and provided oversight to ensure public safety in medical and academic nuclear use.
Bob's career at NIST and the NRC in devolopment and promotion of standards for radioactive materials has been a significant contibution to the safe and effective use of radioactivity in US health care.
Bob had a life-long love of aviation, making his last flight March 3. He logged nearly 7000 hours of flying time, over 4000 of which were as an instructor. He gave instructiorn in single and twin engine aircraft and was VFR and IFR certified. He was a CFII, qualifying him to teach other potential instructors and was a dedicated member of CAP (Civil Air Patol) for 40 years, where he obtained the rank of Lt Colonel.
Bob was instrumental in establishing and supporting the annual Maryland Wing Cadet Solo Program. The program just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Over lS0 cadets made their first solo flight under his instruction. He spent most of his weekends teaching anyone that wanted to learn how to fly, usually for no more compensation than lunch or just their appreciation. He flew many missions for Life Flight, flying patients to distant hospitals for medical treatment and vital organs for transplant. He held the position of Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator and Mission Check Pilot within CAP, where he directed and flew many searches for missing people, lost airplanes, boats in distress, or illegal narcotics. He helped in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina by flyine observation missions and providing vital tansportation to the hardest hit areas.
In addition to his many positions in CAP, he received numerous awards for his dedication and service. He will be remembered fondly by many friends aad fellow pilots in, CAP and the flying community.
Bob was devoted to his farmily and especially enjoyed his new role as a grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Marilyn; his two children, Julie Patterson and husband Trent, and Brian Ayres and wife Kathleen; his grandchildren, Caleb Patter-son, Anna, Sean and Andrew Kilpatric; three sisters, Sherrill Adams and husband Ron, Marlene Amos, Linda Howell and husband Errol, and seven nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Albert; his nephew, Donald Dory and two nieces, Brenda Amos and Amber Ransom.
Interment will be at Douglas Grove Cemetery in Constock at the convenience of the family. A service of remembrance was held at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Frederick March 24. Donations can be made to Life Flight Network Founda-tion, PO Box 99, Atrora, OR. 97002 or Civil Air Palrol Foundation, 105 S. Hansell St. Maxwell A-FB, AL 36112 .
Rhoad Funeral Home in Sargent was in charge of the arrangements.
Published in Custer County Chief, March 29, 2012